'Osmosis' Group Exhibiton
Espacio Gallery, London, September 2021
A 'Degrees of Freedom' Production.
Traces of lost places due to natural weathering, climate change, social history or economics are all to be found in this area of the North East coast, where the sea meets land and ‘The Black Path’ threads its way through the marshes and the huge industrial landscape.
This path is an ancient route and has been many things: the northern boundary of an Anglian Kingdom, a medieval sailor’s trod, and a convenient path to work for the steelworkers of Middlesbrough. It is a witness to the erosion of the industrial heritage that has been accelerating since the closure of the last blast furnaces in 2010.
These images are photographic ‘skins’, witnesses to the constant ebb and flow of this place as well as my experience of being there. The ‘flaneurie' of the chance encounters with a place are an essential contingency supplied through the photographic process.
Each of these prints are unique. They are made using ancient light and as many sustainable slow and low tech elements as possible. All Film negatives were developed in homemade rosemary chemistry and each print developed using a variety of kitchen compost chemistry which gives each one its unique tonal qualities. They bare the marks of the making and the terroir.
As an artist at this time of global crisis, I feel it is essential that my role is to make work using a slow and ethical framework to offer alternative ways to think about our fragmented selves. Many artists, including myself, use an embodied and engaged art practice, that recognises that current ways of being are unsustainable to both the human and non human world. It is obvious that there is an urgency to create new alternative ways of looking at the world.
The majority of images in this exhibition relate to the constant changing face of this coastal area. Different historical times are captured in the eroding or partially dismantled remnants that appear or disappear depending on the tides and weather. For example in 'Wreckage of the 19th ship' there is the archeological remnants of a vessel from a time when many ships were lost entering the river before the two breakwaters were built. 'Powder Wharf' remains teetering and alludes to a period when this site was used by either the Royal Navy for the unloading of explosive ordnance during the First World War or when mine laying submarines were based in the river. This area of Redcar was also world famous for its capacity to manufacture steel and in 'Bran Sands, South Gare' the cranes once used for this purpose can be seen in the distance.